Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfreid, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks
Directed by Tom Hooper
Run Time: 157 mins
Genre: Drama/ Musical/ Romance
Opens December 25th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Based on the book by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables first found fame on stages inLondon, Broadway and eventually all over the world. So whenHollywoodcame a calling, Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) took on the challenge of bringing the beloved stage musical and translating on screen for a new audience.
For those not familiar with the story, it begins in 1815 with prisoner #24601, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man who spent 19 year in jail for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a family member. He is being release on parole, and the man in charge of his release is Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), a man who takes the law and follows it to the letter. He warns Valjean if he does not report in, it is a violation of his parole. Valjean ends up evading the law for parole violation for 9 years where he rebuilds his life and ends up the mayor of a small French town outside ofParis.
Valjean also runs a factory where one of the workers, Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is being harassed and accused of being a horrible woman because she has kept her daughter secret from the other women workers. This information is turned over to the foreman who fires Fantine, leaving her desperate and desolate. With nowhere else to turn, Fantine turns to body mutilation and prostitution, where she falls ill and is eventually rescued by Jean Valjean. She begs Valjean to provide for her daughter Cosette, and he vows to provide and care for the child as if she was his own. Valjean honors this vow and rescues the girl from horrid living conditions from where she was held.
As the years pass,Valjean and Javert 's paths continually cross; the world around them changes, as do all the relationships of the people that surround them. The times are uncertain, but the only certainty in life is finding and giving love.
If there ever was a way to bring a Broadway show to the silver screen, this is the way to do it. Although it is challenging to capture the essence of what a live performance would do, the film version by Director Tom Hooper brings the beloved Broadway musical to life. It is fascinating that the film does not have any spoken dialogue, but sang by each character through out the entire film. Fans of the play it will be pleased with what has been done, but it is a great way to be introduced to the program if you have not seen the live stage performance. Anne Hathaway reaches such an emotional, gut-wrenching depth in her role as Fantine. Viewers of the film can feel the anguish that she feels for her daughter's absence. Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are perfectly casting the roles of the inn keepers as they steal the show in every scene they are featured. The two male leads were interesting to watch as they have played similar roles but not in a musical film. Hugh Jackman is unrecognizable when he appears in his first scene, going on to deliver a powerful performance as Jean Valjean and balancing the aggressive, stoic role of Javert played by Russell Crowe. Keep this one locked in view for your Oscar pools as Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman are shoo-ins for nominations. Les Misérables opens in theaters nationwide starting Christmas Day Tuesday December 25, 2012.